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Researcher with humpback whale underwater
Adam Pack preparing to measure the body size of a female humpback whale using underwater videogrammetry, a technique he developed together with Scott Spitz and Louis M. Herman at UH Manoa (NOAA Permit 1071).

The groundbreaking humpback whale research of a psychology and biology professor at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo will be featured in an episode of a nationally distributed television series.

In the June 26 episode of Changing Seas, entitled, “Mystery of the Humpback Whale Song,” viewers journey to waters off Maui as UH Hilo Professor Adam Pack collaborates with Marc Lammers, UH Mānoa graduate and affiliate research faculty at the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology and marine biology graduate program. Pack, the cofounder of the Listening Observatory for Hawaiian Ecosystems (LOHE) Bioacoustics Lab, is also a cooperating faculty member in UH Mānoa’s marine science graduate program and an associate editor of the scientific journal Marine Mammal Science.

Adam Pack lowering a hydrophone into the ocean
Pack lowering a hydrophone in the waters near Maui to listen for humpback whale singers. (NMFS MMPA/ESA Permit No. 19655).

The program highlights Pack’s laboratory’s collaborative humpback whale research studies with Lammers, research coordinator of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, focusing on understanding how acoustic characteristics of the song produced by individual male humpback whales reflect their fitness and fertility levels, and how habitat use, energetics and acoustics are related in various pod types using acoustic recording suction cup tags.

Viewers can watch a preview of the episode.

“The program will also feature our work on understanding humpback whale behavioral ecology by tracing the long-term life histories of individual-identified humpback whales using our lab’s 43 year historical archive of whale sightings,” Pack said.

Produced by South Florida PBS in Miami, Changing Seas gives viewers a fish-eye view of life in the deep blue. The episode featuring Pack will premiere in the Miami market and will be made available to PBS stations nationwide in November. The episode can also be viewed on the YouTube channel “ChangingSeasTV.”

—By Kelli Trifonovitch

Adam pack being filmed working at a computer
Pack compares humpback whale flukes in his lab’s extensive photo ID catalog that dates back to 1976.
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